Professional boxing returned to New York after a 176-day absence on Saturday, Jan. 14, with a nine-fight card at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. A co-promotion of DiBella Entertainment and Mayweather Promotions, the main event saw IBF 168-pound champion James DeGale square off against his WBC counterpart Badou Jack in a unification fight.
When the smoke cleared, there was no unified champion. Judge Glenn Feldman scored the bout for DeGale (114-112), but his colleagues Steve Weisfeld and Julie Lederman both had it 113-113, resulting in a majority draw. By rule, both fighters retain their titles.
The crowd booed the result. Badou Jack, who was roughly a 5/2 underdog in man-to-man betting, won them over with a spirited performance after falling behind early and many thought that he pulled it out of the fire when he knocked DeGale to the canvas in the final stanza, earning a 10-8 round. It was the first time in his career that DeGale had been knocked down.
The winner would supposedly defend his titles against Callum Smith but that bout is now in limbo. A rematch is in order, but Badou Jack has indicated his preference to move up to the light heavyweight division, so there may not be a second meeting.
DeGale vs. Jack was the capstone to a very strong show that bodes well for boxing in 2017. In the co-feature, 22-year-old Gervonta Davis showed that he is legit by snatching the IBF 130-pound title from defending champion Jose Pedraza with a seventh round stoppage. There was late money on Davis who went to post a small favorite, but there were many knowledgeable observers who thought that the young Baltimorean, a Floyd Mayweather protege, was taking too big of a jump at this stage of his career.
Heading in, Davis had answered the bell for only 43 rounds as a professional. By contrast, Puerto Rico’s Pedraza, undefeated at 22-0, was a veteran of five 12-round fights. But it immediately became clear that Davis had the faster and heavier hands and a more well-rounded game. A huge right hook sent Pedraza down in the seventh and he did not complain when the referee waved it off.
Davis advances to 17-0 with his 16th knockout in a performance so strong that it had folks taking about a match between him and the ever-improving Vasyl Lomachenko.
Serrano vs. Rivas
Brooklyn’s Amanda Serrano notched her 18th straight win while successfully defending her WBO World female 122-pound title with a 10 round unanimous decision over Mexico’s Yazmin Rivas. Serrano, now 31-1-1, had stopped her five previous opponents, but was unable to make it six straight vs. Rivas who declined to 35-10-1. Serrano won comfortably on the scorecards (99-91, 98-92, 97-93), but the sturdy Rivas gave a good account of herself in an entertaining fight.
In a middleweight contest between two undefeated prospects, Virginia’s Immanuwel Aleem (17-0-1) stopped Ievgen Khytrov in the sixth frame of a scheduled 10-rounder. A Brooklyn-based Ukrainian and former Olympian, Khytrov (14-0 going in) was hurt in the opening round and knocked to the canvas in round three, but he rallied and was very much in the fight until the fateful sixth round when Aleem knocked him down again, forcing the stoppage. Khytrov was the busier fighter, but in a major surprise it was the unheralded Aleem whose punches carried more steam. This was a great action fight.
Kownacki vs. Tufte
In an 8-round heavyweight fight, Adam Kownacki, a Brooklyn-based Pole, improved to 15-0 (12) with a second round stoppage of Joshua Tufte. A pudgy campaigner from Kernersville, North Carolina, Tufte (19-2) was willing but out-gunned.
Thomas Dulorme TKO 6 Brian Jones, 8 rounds, welterweights
Noel Murphy UD 6 Maxito Sainvil, welterweights
Kenny Robles UD 4 Latorie Woodberry, welterweights
Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.